‘Miss, The Elephants’

Ladybird Ladybird 

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‘Please put that back where you found it,  hurry up and get back into line,’ words shouted to a 6 year old child in a school I was teaching in a while ago. The little girl had a ladybird in the palm of her hand and was showing it to a friend.  She set the ladybird free and lined up in the straight line with all the other children.

‘Miss, the elephant’ 

A teaching mentor once advised me ‘Don’t be the teacher who misses the elephant walking past the classroom’

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When I was teaching in Tanzania, we often had monkeys visiting the classroom, no matter how many times they came in to steal crumbs from the floor the kids got distracted and excited. At the time, I was also studying to ‘BE’ a mindfulness teacher and completing a yoga teaching course, so despite feeling irritated,  I reminded myself to be present with the experience, have a 10431412_10152530791344789_4232260385897800258_obeginners mind with the visits and to see them through the children’s fresh curious eyes!

The children also used to love the large birds that perched on the telephone wires outside and sometimes we’d all just stand by the windows watching them. We’d find out what they were called, researching the photos in our small collection of bird spotting books and of course if the electricity and internet were working we’d use google.

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Lessons From the Ladybird

After the ladybird was set free,  I went back to class to tell my children about it and found out what they knew about them.  We looked at photos online of  different ladybirds, found out where they lived,  counted the different spots and introduced the word symmetry, little children love big words and there’s so many avenues still to explore. We added this learning to the slug, snails and power ranger interest zone.

Monkey Minds

Often I talk with the children about their busy monkey minds, and teach them ways to settle and calm ourselves, largely because I ‘need’ them to be quiet on the carpet.  Kids are naturally curious, playful and present, are we teaching them to be busy, distracted and stressed?

I Missed the Elephant

Whilst typing this I forgot to pay attention, the birds have been singing outside all the while and I didn’t notice –  I missed the elephant.

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Seize the day.

A PLAYce to BE

I’m facilitating a PLAYce to BE You on the 14th October at Clandon Wood near Guildford in Surrey. You might like to join in and notice the beautiful nature reserve with us. Why not come along and take a couple of hours out to just BE. Info here. 

If you would like me to come and talk to your organisation about simple ways to get present, please email me jane@janetyson.co.uk.

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A PLAYce to BE

A PLAYce to BE.
 
The essence of creativity comes from play which feeds and nurtures our souls‘ Goldie Hawn.
 
This afternoon I’m running my ‘Playful / Random’ workshop at Clandon Wood.
 
My intention is to create a monthly ‘space’ for 8 adults (big kids) and a PLAYce to explore ways to BE – to relax, play, share, support and create.
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Today, we will –

  • learn ways we can be more connected to self, friends and family
  • explore how to listen more effectively
  • take a short mindful Autumn walk
  • draw a little
  • write a poem
  • create an Autumn mandala
  • understand the ‘upward spiral’ for good mental health
  • breathe
  • do the Hokey Cokey!
It’s from 2.30pm to 4.30pm today at the beautiful nature reserve and natural burial ground Clandon Wood.
 
We will also ‘eat beautifully’ – I’ll provide teas and healthy snacks.
 
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Come along to see what magic we can create together.
 
 
It’s random.
 
Jane x
 
#RandDialEvent #LWWDEvent #Frustrationexpert

Adults stop playing because they worry they might fall over.

A Lesson From the Brownies 

Another ‘Random’ workshop with the Brownies this evening.
 
Before we did some moves, mindset and mindlessness, I did a little research for my ‘adult’ playful / random / mindlessful workshop this Saturday and asked them 3 questions –
 

What does the word ‘play’ mean to you? –

 
Friends
Games
Tablet
Donuts
 

‘Why Do Adults Stop Playing’?

 
Because of us
They haven’t got time
They give up
They can’t play, don’t know how to
Too old to be chased
Worried about falling over
We are faster than them and they get frustrated they can’t keep up
 

‘Why Do You Like To Play?’

 
  • Relax
  • Fun
  • Exercise
  • Problems go away
  • Builds Imagination
  • Reminds us that fun is important
  • Laughter is the best medicine
  • Gives us something to do
Adults what do you reckon to the Brownies list?
 
Next week I’m with teens at a Youth Club
brownies
link up with me at – janetyson.co.uk

What Will You Settle On Today?

What will you settle on today?

Some people love being preoccupied with thoughts.

Thoughts provide them with constant entertainment, interaction, they believe thinking is important.

They are addicted to distraction and fearful of boredom, inner silence, or feeling alone without them.

Our minds are often likened to busy monkeys leaping from tree to tree or butterflies fluttering from flower to flower.

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We are good at multitasking, reacting, and scanning for the pleasant, unpleasant or neutral and choosing all the time between them.

Life is fast paced, work is busy, families are doing, schools are cramming…

So what can we settle on today to stabilise our mind and respond more to situations?

How can we allow the butterfly to settle, the monkey to still?

Jane Tyson

Frustrated by Family Mealtimes?

  • Do you find yourself cooking different meals for everyone?
  • Buying more convenience food because it is?
  • Busy and out of balance with life, work and family?
  • Struggling for ideas for things to cook that you’ll all enjoy?

Any of this sound familiar?

Below are some ideas for simple family meals created by my children, I’d love about your favourites and I’ll add them below.

A ‘How I’ Blog – How I Keep Sane at Mealtimes

In the past few months my family food choices have gone down hill, I returned to teaching 3 days a week, so went down the more convenience food route, plus the other days I was off the kids had activities early evening which also disrupted eating.

We all like different Meals 

My family loves food and eats well – just not the same as each other. One of my children doesn’t like meat so much, the other dislikes sauces and my husband doesn’t eat fish or chicken.  I wrote this blog earlier in the year about how eating together improves connection, here, we were eating together just not great food!

Not only have we been filling up on more processesed, salty and unheathy food, it’s costing money.

So what to do, how to get back into a good eating habits?

The holidays and a change in routine have brought some much needed time to create and reflect. With fresh inspiration this is my new plan and I’m writing it down, maybe it will give you some ideas too –

  • Sit down as a family and write down 5 of your favourite home cooked meal choices each.
  • See if any of them correlate – live in hope.
  • Ask them which days they feel it would be good to eat their chosen meal(s).
  • From the 20 or so meals, choose several and draw up a weekly or fortnightly meal plan to pin on fridge or door
  • Create a shopping list from this plan – ask the kids to do this with you.
  • Find out which days they would like to be involved with cooking one or two meals each week.  Mine are particulary keen to make pizzas.
  • Which days would they like to come to the supermarket to help gather the ingredients (they do love a trip as they can stare at the toys too). When they were little they helped write the lists and loved running off to find things. Whilst it’ a pain to take them sometimes and ends up costing more, it is a good time together as well with them.
  • If they don’t like the meal chosen on the weekly plan, what would they prefer and would they like to prepare it the day before with you or on the day?
  • What parts of their favourite meals could we look to grow on the allotment, in the garden, in a pot etc?

Getting the Kids Involved 

pizza 2pizzaMy 10 year old daughter was bored today, so we bought ingredients this morning to make pizza and she taught herself to make one following a recipe online. Not sure she could fit any more olives on. I note the processed ham. I reckon she could make this when she gets in from school on one of the days I’m working.  I’ve taught my 12 year old son Luke to hoover the house this week and fold the ironing. My child labour plan is coming on nicely.

MealTime Ideas

Below are some really simple healthy-ish meals the children chose,  which can easily be adapted plus I’ve added some vegetarian ideas too –

spaghetti bolognaise (of course) meat, I cook a lovely lentil one which they turn their noses up at – sweat onions, chopped celery and carrots for about 10 mins in some chopped bacon if you have it, add mince and brown, top with about 200ml stock, tin toms or fresh ones and cook for about an hour on low.  Serve with pasta, top with grated cheese and parsley.   For the veggie version use all the same ingredients except cook the brown or red lentils in a separate pan, or buy them ready cooked and add to the veg, tomatoes and stock.

cod in lemon and parsley – season fresh cod, fry cod in butter and oil until browned. Take off and squeeze a lemon into the pan, pour over fish and sprinkle on parsley  serve with new pots, rice etc

chicken soup – they just love this – leftover roast chicken (again easy to cook and use up over a few days)  or cook some breasts and chop and put to one side.  Sweat and soften a variety of veg eg carrots, celery, onion, courgettes for 10 mins in butter. Add a litre of stock (I tend to buy organic stock or sometimes make my own in the slow cooker) and some noodles. Once the noodles are cooked add the leftover chicken and heat through for 2 minutes, serve with parsley and crusty bread.  For a vegetarian version try using borlotti beans and pasta – minestrone style.

pulled pork rolls with apple sauce – put a loin of pork in the slow cooker, season with salt and pepper, put on low and cook all day. Serve in white rolls with apple sauce or as a nice roast with some potatoes and veg.

homemade pizza – there are various recipes to make the dough or can use pitta bread, or flat tortillas. Once made cover with tomato puree or thin layer of chopped toms and choice of toppings, then bake in oven for 7 to 10 mins if using pitta or 20 mins if the fresh dough version.  Ellie has chosen cheese, olives, ham, anchovies. Luke wants pepperoni and chillis and is excited about making these.

chicken (or other meat or haloumi cheese) kebabs – fresh cubed chicken threaded onto skewers, could be alternated with veg such as courgette, onion and pepper. Choose a topping or marinade in the day with for example lemon and yoghurt, or pesto, or olive oil with herbs, whatever your kids choose and like. Grill for 15 minutes turning frequently. Serve with salad or veg, rice or potatoes etc.

Friends also shared their favourite meals –

From Lucia Knight – Thank you Jane, We love make your own tacos with pre-made & frozen chilli, wraps and a load of small bits and pieces from the fridge(peppers, sweetcorn, cucumber & grated cheese or anything you fancy). Great for play dates as it can all be made in as little as it takes to heat up the chilli and gives fussy eaters some choice.

Thanks Mark love to try this Paella too – Mark Beresford Chicken thighs chorizo and red peppers. All fried in a large pan. Add chilli flakes. Simmer with sone stock. Add paella rice. Simmer. Eat. Great quick and easy meal. Freezes too.

Would love to hear about your favourite family recipes, please do comment or pm me x

I asked friends to comment on their meal times –

Belinda allowed me to share this, her child has an autistic spectrum disorder,  there is humour to her writing and it puts my own mealtime gripes in perspective, thank you x

‘Jake vomits if a smell is unpleasant to him,  which makes mealtimes interesting. There are many food smells he struggles to tolerate ( even if we are eating them) and it’s difficult to vary his diet as he prefers to eat the same thing daily: wraps mashed avocado pepper cucumber cocktail sausages from Tescos and tomato
Jake also struggles with people eating with their mouths open … a problem every Sunday when we have my mother in law with dementia for dinner. I have to have a seating plan!
Jake eats very quickly even after 10 years of me working in slowing him down!
Poppy is vegetarian
I try not to eat gluten
Jez eats anything except fish!
We do sit down and eat together daily, some days with greater success than others.
Jake is trying new foods having grown them in his veg patch .. courgette being the latest. This is a fantastic step forwards x

Julie writes – I caught Luke feeding Ella spoonfuls of ketchup the other day and Ella is digging into her third pizza of week. Homemade but still…

Come Play on the 23rd in Guildford 

Join me for a play on the 23rd September, early bird applies until the 1st September.  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/exploring-play-tickets-35531141601

JaneTyson.co.uk

Creating Family Zen

Think BIG, BOLD and BEAUTIFUL 

Creating Vision for You and Your Family 

This morning why not play out a movie in your mind of how you’d like your day to be.
How would you like to feel today?
If you are with your family today you might like to do this activity together. How could you give each other equal listening today and respect. What would you like to do today and how will you BE?
What will you do when things don’t go to plan, will you respond or react to situations as a family?

Think & Feel Success

Create a successful big, bold and beautiful movie of your day as a family, make it so successful when things do go a little downhill it doesn’t matter because you know how easy it is to pick yourself back up again and get back into the movie.
You could create a timelime of this or draw pictures together, pin it someplace warm and friendly in the house.
Your kids like mine may just go ‘oh mum/dad what are you up to now?’ Infact I expect my husband will raise his eyes a little too.
But you know it’ll get them thinking, it’s planted a seed. They may not wish to engage with this but you are helping to create a vision for the day, if you aren’t raising your eyebrows too!
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Feel the day ahead, picture how successful you wish to be. I write this in the context of parenting and family but I have frequently used visual imagery in my life, as I talked about in the video I posted on Saturday on my Facebook Page 

A Family Bucket List 

Above is a photo of me at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in 2014 with my friend Genes Nolasco Shirima. My family and I lived out in Tanzania for 2 years whilst I taught in an International School. 
Infact, I’d written on my bucket list ‘to climb Kili’ because I thought I ought to, as that’s what most people have on their bucket list,  I didn’t believe I’d achieve many of the things written on the list nor know even where Kili was. I also wrote as my affirmation that ‘I live abroad with my family in a quirky house, with a beautiful view and my children play out freely’. After a series of strange events I found myself with my family teaching in Tanzania opposite a volcano, in a quirky concrete house with my children running around freely on a campus with friends.
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Outside our house in Tanzania, the view of the volcano obscured by the clouds

I also realised soon after accepting the position that Mount Kili was in Tanzania bugger – I now had to climb it -be careful what you put out there.

ZEN Family

Before embarking on the 6 day adventure I looked at the summit of Kili and played out the movie in my mind of getting there, I visualised the steps along the way, and how I wished to feel. I pictured myself at the top.

I also interviewed friends who had successfully climbed and asked for their top tips, including a successful business friend who lived in Tanzania and had climbed it 5 times. He said think ‘ZEN’ – imagine you have already climbed it and rather than concerning yourself with what can go wrong,  enjoy every breath and every moment and be totally present with the mountain experience and just ZEN!

It was tough with the altitude, I was sick near the summit, exhausted, pathetic and cried, but kept playing out the success movie and had a big belief that I’d make it. I had done a lot of yoga breathing and meditation along the way and experienced many ZEN moments. There’s no way without Gene’s positivity, support and guidance though I’d have made it. Pick the right guides to model in your life,  as you’ll start to think and behave like them.  I was also OK with not finishing as just BEing on the mountain had been so special.

 

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Yoga on Mount Kili

Have a wonderful day, think success, dream big and bold and read your family bucket list again.  Can we be successful and zenful at the same?
Jane x
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ZEN – courtesy of Genes Lava Rock Expeditions, Tanzania

How I Help My Children Go To Bed

Frustrated with getting your kids to bed?

The children are finally in bed – it only takes us an hour of asking them to right? Then they need about 5 wees, decide they are hungry and want to discuss the meaning of life.

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How about creating such a wonderful nighttime haven for them that they jump into bed willingly and soon after fall asleep?

Just imagine having an evening where you weren’t being constantly called back upstairs.

Do you feel confident at bedtime?

I know very few parents with this wonderful bedtime routine, largely because when I speak to them they are tired and also distracted at this time of night. Over time they have lost confidence that it can be achieved, and the kids really know it! With a little consistency, perserverance and belief we can create a soothing and calm bedtime that we all look forward to with lasting positive memories.

How I Help My Children Go to Bed and Sleep

So how can we do this? I’d like to share a ‘How I’ post for bedtime, it’ll be over on my Facebook page as a video after 7pm today.

Jane Tyson